10 Amazing Places To See In Sicily
I lived in Palermo for five months, as I studied at the university through an Erasmus scholarship. After the semester has finished, I left Sicily being overwhelmingly in love with it, but not very eager to go back to the big cities of the island.
As the easiest way to get there is by plane and the main airports are situated in Palermo and Catania, most of the people who visit Sicily chose to organize their holiday around the city they land in. But I think there are so many beautiful, less known places you can see in Sicily, besides Palermo and Catania. That’s why I thought I should share with you 10 amazing places I visited while I was there.
As a practical detail, we went there by car, so we’ve been independent from the means of transport. The highways are generally pretty good and free of charge (except from one of them, where you’ll have to pay around 8 euros). You can rent a car very easily and at a reasonable price (around 250 euros for one week)
SCALA DEI TURCHI
Scala dei turchi, which in Italian means “the Turkish steps” is a natural marl formation, a sedimentary rock with a characteristic white color and calcareous texture. Legend has it that the Moors used to pass across this place in their frequent raids towards other regions of Sicily, and it’s one of the few places that is even more breathtaking in real life than in photos.
HIKING ON ETNA
Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. With its 3,295 meters height and unique location (you can actually gaze at the sea while hiking), it’s definitely a must while visiting Sicily. I would recommend taking a 2-day trip with Hiking Sicily, as they are very nice and helpful, and make great trips on the volcano.
RISERVA DELLO ZINGARO
With its beautiful vegetation and fauna and its non-touristic natural beaches, this is an off-the-beaten-paths trail you should definitely try.
MODICA AND RAGUSA
Modica and Ragusa are two wonderful cities in the mountains, which I personally fell in love with. They are built completely according to the mountain relief, and have beautiful views over the landscape. Modica is also knows for its delicious artisan chocolate.
Cefalu is the perfect seaside town – there’s a nice sandy beach, beautiful small streets to wander, rocky shores to explore and a super cozy central square. While there, be sure to eat the best arrancini in Sicily, at the Helios restaurant.
VALE DEI TEMPLI, AGRIGENTO
Agrigento was one of the most important cities on the Mediterranean Sea shore, and dates from the year 580 bc, when the Greeks have founded here the Akragas town. The area is now open to visitors, so you have the chance to visit the preserved Doric monuments while surrounded by history.
RISERVA NATURALE ORIENTATA CAVAGRANDE DEI CASSIBILE
This one is an amazing trekking trail for the adventure lovers. It’s a nice canyon formed by the Cassibile river, with nice small lakes and waterfalls all over the walking route.
OLD CITY OF ERICE
A history dating thousands of years ago, the beautiful, close to the sea location, with an elevation of almost 800 meters, make visiting Erice it an unforgettable experience while in Sicily.
Taormina is the Sicilian city that I love the most. It has a lot of restaurants which serve delicious local food, nice souvenir shops, a beautiful and well preserved Greek theater, a beautiful view over the sea and over the Etna volcano and a great Sicilian atmosphere all over the place. We even went paragliding there, and it was amazing (you can also try it with Etna Fly).
The Aeolian islands are a volcanic archipelago situated in the Tyrrhenian sea. We visited Lipari and Panarea, but there are many others worth seeing. You can leave the car in the harbor parking lot in Milazzo, take the ferry and then rent a scooter for a really small price.
We really enjoyed driving around Sicily and escaping from Palermo from time to time, and I would recommend giving a chance to the small cities as well. You’ll love them, I promise!